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The Definitive Guide to How Long a Roof Lasts in 2020

The one-stop guide to how long roofs last (all roof types included)

how long does a roof last

Are you aware of the condition of the roof over yours and your family’s heads?

If you own a home, you should be.

Most of the time, homeowners don’t realize that their roof is in a state of disrepair until it is too late.

What’s more, many homeowners don’t really know how long a roof lasts or when to replace a roof.

replacing roof shingles

  1. Intro to This Guide
  2. How Long Does a Roof Last?
  3. When to Replace a Roof
  4. How to Tell If You Need a New Roof
  5. Signs You Need a New Roof
  6. Is Your Roof Defective?
  7. How Long Does an Asphalt Roof Last?
  8. How Long Does a Metal Roof Last?
  9. How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last?
  10. How Long Does a Slate Roof Last?
  11. How Long Does a Tin Roof Last?
  12. How Long Does a Cedar Shake Roof Last?
  13. How Long Does a Tile Roof Last?
  14. How Long Does a Thatched Roof Last?
  15. Replacing Roof Shingles
  16. How Do You Know If You Need a New Roof?

Intro to This Guide

how long do shingles last

Repairing or replacing your roof can be a costly proposition at best, so it’s a good idea that as a homeowner you know when you might need to replace your roof and how long the particular type of roof that you have lasts in general.

Additionally, it is perhaps even more important to look at how long various types of roofing materials can last if you are buying or building a new home, so you can understand how long your investment can last.

Moreover, there is the resale value to consider.

Establishing the current state of the roof, how long your roof is going to last and what can be expected from the type of roofing materials used, the climate in your region, and the other idiosyncrasies of your property and particular location is an important aspect to consider before you buy, even if you plan on staying in that home for a while.

Having a roof inspection conducted during the standard due diligence stage that occurs before you buy a property is fairly standard, and don’t hesitate to ask for concessions if the roof isn’t up to code or has problems that could prove to be costly in the future.

How Long Does a Roof Last?

how long do roofs last

So how long does a roof last on a typical home or residential property last, really?

That depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of roof you have, the region and climate your home is located in, and the style of your property.

For instance, asphalt shingle roofing tends to last around 20 to 25 years, while other types of roofing, like metal standing seam roofing, can last for 50 years or even longer, depending on your climate, type of property, and various other environmental factors including things like overhanging trees and the humidity percentage or amount of rainfall that you get (roof hail damage as well).

So, at this point, you might be asking how long does a new roof last?

Read on to learn more about the length of time that various types of roofing materials last to understand the best choices for you and your property, whether it is an existing home that might require repairs, a roof replacement, or a new property where you have the chance to make decisions about the type of roof that you’re going to install.

When to Replace a Roof

when to replace roofing

If you’ve experienced a major weather event or catastrophic disaster like a hurricane, tornado, house fire, or smoke damage then you already know that you need to replace your roof and that it is time to work with your insurance company to make a roof insurance claim and get the necessary work done.

However, if you haven’t had to deal with a significant disaster, you may still need to replace your roof due to its age, type, or other issues such as overhanging trees or shrubbery causing damage, or extreme humidity.

For instance, a typical residential roof will generally last for around 20 to 25 years, with the caveat that if your roof was installed with one layer over another, you will want to hire a roofing contractor or company who understands this type of roofing job in order to ensure that your current is properly repaired, replaced, or otherwise taken care of.

How to Tell If You Need a New Roof

how to tell if you need a new roof

Do you need a new roof?

If your roof is older than 20 to 25 years or if you’ve recently been subject to a major disaster, then you likely need to look into replacing your roof or at least have it inspected so you can get a good idea of its current condition and when you might be likely to need to get it fixed, repaired, or even completely replaced.

Also, be aware that if your roof was installed over an existing roof (as opposed to replacing the old roof completely) the current roof may or may not be properly ventilated, so you will want to look into that as well ensuring the multiple layers are all sound and solid and repaired properly.

If your roof has many layers that have built up over the years, you may want to consider replacing it entirely.

Signs You Need a New Roof

how long does a new roof usually last

Have you noticed shingles cracking, buckling, or curling up?

If you witness these signs, you definitely want to look into a new roof or at least contact a roofing contractor for an assessment.

If your shingles are losing granules then you also want to look into replacing your roof.

Roof valleys – or if your roof shingles are falling apart and missing in some areas – are another sign that you should have your roof assessed by professional roofing contractors and possibly replaced.

Roof valleys (shingles missing in areas around your gutters and chimneys) or missing shingles in general can also be a sign that you need to replace your roof or at least do some serious repair work.

Can you get up on your roof and walk around and observe?

If the roof is spongy-feeling or if you start feeling like you are bouncing a bit when you are walking on it, then your roof might need to be replaced.

Do you see any granules missing if you have an asphalt shingle roof?

When your shingles are losing granules, then you’ll notice the loose granules around the base of your home, in your gutters, or scattered in your yard.

The shingles themselves might also appear to be discolored.

This is definitely a time to work with a roofing company to determine any problems with your roof and figure out whether you need repairs or a total roof replacement.

Replacing missing or damaged roof shingles can also be a DIY project if you are somewhat handy, but that depends on your own abilities, the type of roof you have, and your do-it-yourself skills.

We always suggest going with a roofing company if you have questions or doubts about your DIY skills, or simply just don’t want to get up on your roof yourself, since it is difficult and can be a dangerous task even if you do have some home repair talents.

You or your roofing company should check out your roof on a regular basis, especially if you think it is time for a new roof or if you think your newer roof might be defective.

Is Your Roof Defective?

how long does a shingle roof last

And how can you tell if your roof might be defective?

If your roof is relatively new and you are seeing issues like shingles buckling and curling, granules coming off asphalt shingles, missing shingles, or other similar problems, then your roof might be defective and you should reach out to the roofing company or contractor who built or installed it, as well as your insurance company.

This goes doubly so if the insurance company paid for your roof due to damage from a weather event or disaster.

If your roof is only a few years old and you are noticing any of the aforementioned issues, then you might need to get your roof looked at by professionals because it could become a bigger problem, especially if you are considering selling your house in the near future.

Also keep in mind that the value of your house may increase or decrease depending on the age of your roof, so if you are planning on moving in the near future, you may want to get your roof assessed before you put the property on the market.

Moreover, if you are thinking of purchasing a new home or other property, then you should make sure that the roof is relatively new and in good repair; if not, you’ll want to ensure that the property is priced accordingly and be aware that you may need to replace the roof soon.
When you are in the market for a new home, if you are at the point of getting a new property inspected, be sure to pay extra attention to the condition of the roof.

How Long Does an Asphalt Roof Last?

asphalt roof

An asphalt shingle roof can last around 20 to 25 years, if properly maintained and barring any significant weather events or disasters.

However, you will probably want to have your roof checked out by professionals around the 15-year mark, especially if you have dealt with any kind of major weather issues.

3-tab asphalt shingle roofs – one of the most popular kinds in most temperate climates including the midwestern United States – are some of the more common asphalt roofing options, but there are some variations like architectural or dimensional shingles, which can last longer.

Keep in mind that if you have an asphalt shingle roof in places that get serious strong sunlight like southern California, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, or Arizona, then you’ll want to be aware that your roof might not last as long as it would in other areas like the Midwest or Northeast.

That’s because homes with asphalt roofing in hotter areas might be more susceptible to thermal shock or heat related problems that cause cracks, which can lead to premature roof failure.

So, if you have an asphalt shingle roof in a warm climate, you’ll want to have it inspected more often – and if you are thinking of buying an asphalt shingle roof in a hot climate, definitely get a signoff from a roofing professional first.

Having your asphalt shingle roof assessed goes doubly so if you are thinking of selling your house any time soon, since the prospective buyers will want to know the state of or the overall health of your roof before they sign on the dotted line.

How Long Does a Metal Roof Last?

how long does a metal roof last

Metal roofing can last for decades, which is one reason that it is popular in many areas.

how long do metal roofs last

In addition, the look of a copper or zinc roof can be aesthetically pleasing and add value to your home due to their appearance and longevity.

After all, what potential buyer wouldn’t be interested in a beautiful roof that can last for decades?

More importantly, a metal roof can last for 50 years or even longer if it’s well cared for and no major disasters or other problems occur.

zinc roof

In fact, copper and zinc roofing can last for well over five decades and can be fully functional for 100 years or longer, which might make these types of metal roofing well worth the investment if they are the right style and fit for your home and your style preferences.

How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last?

how long does shingles last

The type of shingles and the material that they’re made, which make up your roof, play the biggest role in how long it will last.

For instance, asphalt shingles don’t last as long as wooden or cedar shingles.

Asphalt shingles tend to only last for 20 years, while wooden or cedar shingles, or wooden or cedar shake roof tend to last for much longer depending on your region, climate, and other elements such as overhanging trees or landscaping that might pose a problem.

fiber cement siding

Fiber cement shingles and other composition shingles can last for around 20 to 30 years.

The type of shingle roof that you have will affect how long your roof lasts as well as when you need to consider replacing shingles or get other repairs done – or do them yourself, if you are fairly handy and comfortable climbing around on your roof.

There are a variety of guides online for performing roof repairs, so if you are comfortable with DIY you can often fix or apply new shingles to your roof yourself.

Any kind of roof will have its lifespan shortened by major weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, or other storms, so even if your roof and home seem relatively or undamaged after such an occurrence, know that you should have the roof checked out right away to make sure there aren’t any small issues that could prove to be a major problem in the future.

How Long Does a Slate Roof Last?

how long does a slate roof last

Slate roofing not only looks elegant, but it can last for a significant amount of time – in some environments, slate roof tiles can last for over 100 years.

slate roof lifespan

However, they don’t always last that long and if you have a slate roof, you need to keep up on the maintenance and replace any broken or damaged shingles as soon as possible.

How Long Does a Tin Roof Last?

A tin roof can last over 50 years barring any kind of disaster or emergency, like most other types of metal roofs.

In some locations, tin roofs are preferred due to their ability to withstand most weather events and they can last as long as most metal roofing systems.

How Long Does a Cedar Shake Roof Last?

how long does a cedar shake roof last

Cedar shakes or cedar shingle roofs have long been popular because of their elegance and classic look, and they can last for several decades or even longer with regular care.

cedar shake roof life expectancy

Cedar shakes or cedar shingles can last for around 30 to 40 years depending on the climate, the presence of any overhanging trees or other vegetation that may cause problems, and the level of maintenance that you or your roofing contractors perform.

Cedar shakes or cedar shingles require regular maintenance – treating the wood with a preservative that can penetrate the wood every five years can help prolong the life and beauty of your cedar roofing.

Ask the contractors who have built or inspected your cedar roofing for more information about treating and maintaining your cedar shake or cedar shingle roof.

How Long Does a Tile Roof Last?

how long does a tile roof last in florida

A tile roof lasts longer in different climates; for instance, a tile roof in Florida is going to require a different type of maintenance than a tile roof in Illinois.

tile roof life expectancy

For example, a tile roof might last longer than a shingle roof in Florida because tile roofing can better withstand the heat and humidity and possible hurricane or tropical damage that can occur in that state.

On the other hand, a tile roof in Illinois can last for several decades, since the climate is much more temperate and your roof is less likely to be subject to thermal shock or other damage.

How Long Does a Thatched Roof Last?

how long does a thatched roof last

If you live in a house with a thatched roof, then you probably already know that they need to be built properly by professionals who have specific experience with thatched roofing.

thatched roof

That said, the core or main structure of a thatched roof can last for several decades – up to 40 to 50 years depending on your climate – but the roof ridge will need to be replaced every 8 to 10 years.

Thatched roofs are often built by craftsman who have built these types of roofing for years, so they understand the details and can help give you an estimate of how long your roof will last.

Replacing Shingles on Your Roof

replacing shingles

Replacing a few roof shingles is much easier than replacing your entire roof, naturally.

And sometimes replacing the shingles on your roof is something that you can do yourself if you are comfortable with climbing up on top of your home and have good DIY skills, but we tend to suggest that you have your roof examined by a professional every few years.

how long does a 30 year roof really last

After all, how long does a 30-year roof or any type of shingle roof last in reality?

We can offer you an idea but there’s nothing like real world expertise and having your roof inspected by a contractor or company who is familiar with your particular type of roofing material, your location, and any other quirks that may need to be considered.

How Do You Know If You Need a New Roof?

how to tell if you need a new roof

At the end of the day, how long does a roof last?

No matter what kind of material your roof is made from, the amount of time that it will last depends on a wide range of factors such as the type of roofing materials used, whether or not it was installed over other layers of roofing material as well as how it was originally built and installed in general, and the climate and region that your home or other property is located in.

Knowing when you need a new roof – whether you have an asphalt or wood shingle roof, a slate roof, a metal roof, a tin roof, thatched roof, or any other kind of roof – is an important part of being a homeowner or property owner.

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